Just Another Sheep by Matt Heagerty is a comic set in the 1960’s, specifically July 4th 1967. During the Vietnam War. The comic is a superhero type comic as the main character Banning has strange powers of some sort. He doesn’t know exactly how his powers work but he knows he has them and knows when he needs to use them. He runs away from home and gets involved in a protest group, who are protesting outside the White House and then things escalate so him and the group end up on the run from the authorities. They then get captured by an evil corporation who control all things and secrets are revealed that show the meaning of the comic;s name.
An outcast thinks he doesn’t fit in and needs to find himself. Standard story-line, but it works. On the way he meets people he thinks he can trust and then they turn out to be double agents and want to take him to an evil corporation where he got his powers. So yeah, it is a story that has been done before but has a new twist to it, that means it makes it more readable.
It is about a man called Banning (strange name) who is trying to get to Boston to talk to a Professor on strange abilities. Strange abilities that he has. On his way he gets targeted by two men who think he is a hippie and start to beat him up until he says “I’m gonna break your arm and give him the worst food poisoning I’ve ever had”, and then it happens to them. This is his power. He then escapes and meets Sadie and gets involved in a protest outside the White House.
This soon turns bad as the protesters get into the White House because the secret service men hold them all up but Banning uses his powers and sets every pain he has ever felt on them all and they all go down. This has disastrous consequences, as one of the leaders of the protest group gets into the Oval Office and sends missiles to various places across America, saying that this will stop America from becoming an overbearing ruler. From then on Banning is on the run with Sadie and Will in a camper van. While driving they come across cities and buildings that have been destroyed because of the missiles and Sadie has a break down. She then goes into a shop and makes a call. This call reveals that she and the others are apart of Les Cordes, the evil corporation behind the comic and Banning’s powers.
In the end Banning gets captured by Les Cordes and a big reveal happens and with them blowing up the building they’re in to escape and it turns out Banning is no longer afraid of who he is, so it ends quite well.
The underlying story-line of the evil corporation or group Les Cordes is a new one and I think it works well with the comic and this story-line. It does try something new with something familiar, even though the evil guy did turn out to be the hero’s father (SHOCKER). I felt Star Wars vibes whilst reading the comic. I did get the impression that I had watched a film like this a some point, with an evil entity that was running everything and it turned out to be important to the main character. So its been done before, however I liked the way it was done in this comic.
The comic overall tells a good story, even though it might have been done many times, but I think this particular story was done rather well. Banning works well as the main character, the reader can easily relate to him as he has weaknesses and shows them. The Les Cordes part threw me a little though as I didn’t expect it, but it was a very good plot-twist. So, the comic has pros and cons, but all in all it was a really good story and I quite enjoyed it. I think the way the story is told makes it refreshing and doesn’t make it just another sheep (see what I did there?) and makes it more readable really.
Banning is a strange character, I kind of liked him and I kind of hated him at the same time. He was likeable in the way that he was a goofy young kid looking for his purpose. On the other hand, I didn’t like him because he was weak and didn’t know what to do with himself, until the time came and he used his powers to hurt people.
Sadie is your typical, lovable, girl next door type, who happens to make friends with the nerdy guy, but then she turns out to be working for the evil character. I liked the character, but didn’t really trust her to begin with because you know when the main character meets someone out of the blue and stays with them, then they’re going to be trouble along the way… And she was, so I was right.
Les Cordes themselves were good characters, I think. It was your typical evil entity ruling above all things. Yet what intrigued me was the way Banning got his powers and how Les Cordes was involved. It wasn’t by some radioactive spider and he didn’t fall into a vat of tar or anything like that. Nothing actually happened to him, it was his mother. His mother was given a drug whilst pregnant that was supposed to diminish pain during childbirth, but it did not work. But then some of the children that were born during this study began to develop certain powers and were given an Over-Looker and Banning’s powers were the most interesting and promising. I think that was different from most stories that use this kind of story-line and that’s why Les Cordes was a good character, evil of course, but we all hate to love the villain really don’t we?
The layout and illustrations of the comic are very Hippy-fied and 60’s looking, which fits with the era that the comic is set in. There are flowers and peace signs in the background and all the colours looked inverted and are very bright. The whole style of the comic was to me what I would expect a comic to look like with all the panels and everything but this comic especially felt different to me.
What is different about this comic is that the main character likes to write poetry and this poetry is included in the comic. At different points the normal dialogue and illustrations are interrupted with poems which I think made this comic quite unique and more interesting. This made it meta which always makes anything more interesting, although the poetry was a bit sad.
Another reason why this comic stands out to me is because at the end of each issue there is a list of songs that acts as a soundtrack to the comic. Now, I found the songs and listened to some of them while reading it and it actually goes quite well, so this to me was a genius idea, and it worked really well with what the important events of the time that its set in, but also fitted in with the superhero type power side to the story.
I haven’t read many comics in the past, but Just Another Sheep was quite easy to read. It did interest me as it was about superhuman or strange powers which is obviously huge right now and is most of the time done well. This included. Everything worked well together I think, the characters, artwork and the story all matched well and to top it all off it has a great name, Just Another Sheep. In the comic there is a side note on one of the pages and it says “Sheep (noun) A docile and vulnerable person who would rather follow than make an independent decision”, which is Banning really as he follows Sadie, so he is following the crowd really. This did amuse me and I thought it was genius really.
I commend Matt Heagerty for penning a very good, readable and intriguing comic book.
Head over to http://justanothersheepcomic.tumblr.com/ to see their page and see what’s going on. Would you like super-powers like Banning? Are you Just Another Sheep? Let us know on here or voice your opinions on Twitter.